Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not Gone and Hopefully Not Forgotten

A week without blogging – the cardinal rule of what not to do in this virtual opinion outlet. Truth be told, I haven’t had any encounters that made me pause, look skyward, and internally mutter, “Story of my life.”

Have you given up on me in favor of people who feel behooved to post more than once per week? No, you say? I don’t blame you.

Since Monday, I’ve taken up the habit of walking to work for a grand (oh yes it is) total of 4 miles as a self-commitment to prepare for the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer. It takes an hour and 15 minutes, though only feels like 20 (maybe even 19). I listen to NPR as I walk, which made me think of a future topic for a blog post, but I’m not ready yet. Please don’t rush me.

Since I’m saving metro fare by walking me-self to work, I thought it reasonable to counteract the savings by purchasing a soy cafĂ© au lait along the 4 mile joyous walk. Only once. The other days I stuck to the free (and delightful) coffee served in the lobby of my building (which just gave my rent a swift kick in the ass). Think before you sip. And I did. I’m all the richer and still equally caffeinated.

While walking to work hasn’t induced story of my life moments, it is quickly changing my life, as well as the way my pants fit. I’m finally getting rid of some of the evidence those gingerbread bastards left on my thighs since the holidays.

I also have more time at night since I’m exercising before work, so I've been spending most evenings reading this book because the author is coming to speak at my place o’ paycheck in March. Perhaps he’ll whisk me away to write for TV. That would add stories to my life and improve my role as a blogger.

(Did I just identify as a “blogger”?) I’m having an identity conundrum. Now that’s the story of my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be a Pal to My Prose


I know this is the second favor I’ve asked for in less than 48 hours (the nerve…), but it seems to be the season for giving (to me). I submitted a story to a travel writing contest on for a whopping $150. It’s not about the money, just a fun window into a world where my two loves (traveling and writing) become fused – a world I’d like to dabble in more frequently.

If you click the link above, you’ll see my story – A Hostel Look at Life – on the homepage with a blue ribbon across a neighboring photo that says “FEATURED.” I’ve never been FEATURED before. Story of my life. I like it. I like it a lot.

You can vote for my story by clicking the button at the beginning of the story. The winner is determined by the number of clicks received. Please pass on to friends who have able-bodied phalanges.

As for the story, it over analyzes (what I do best) a day spent in Utrecht, proving that sometimes you just lose control no matter how determined you are with each step you take. It also speaks to the truth that emotions are global, often more poignant when you’re on foreign ground and pay more attention to your place in the world.

Help a prose-drunk kid out. You dig me?

Thank you (repeatedly).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Quest For a World of Healthy Breasts

Hey [enter your name],

On May 3 - 4, I'll spend 48 hours decked out in pink from head to toe. If you've been to my petite abode, you know that my penchant for all hues rosy is unparalleled. During those same two days, I'll be walking non-stop (except for a tent-style snooze session) for 39 miles as part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The things one will do to acquire another pink shirt. Tell me about it.

Along with a steady gait and a consistently colored outfit, my participation will signify that I succeeded in raising $1,800 for breast cancer research. That sum is three (3!) times the amount that sits in my recently opened savings account, leading me to thoughts conveyed by words like, "Yowsa," "Yikes," "Oh boy," and my personal favorite, "Geez Louise."

I hate asking for favors, but I hate cancer more. I feel extremely guilty if I participate in the first part of the Need a Penny/Take a Penny – Have a Penny/Leave a Penny shenanigans at the checkout line. I sucked as a Girl Scout (big time) because I didn't want to ask anyone to buy my cookies (barely earned the cookie badge).

Yeah, I'll need to stall a bit before I ask for your
fiscal support. Keep reading.

I'll walk in memory of my Grandma Irene who died from breast cancer when I was five. She used to take me strawberry picking, but then I somehow developed an allergy to strawberries (no longer an issue). There were hives and lots of itching. Say no more, right?

I'll walk in support of my Great Aunt Barbara, 74, who beat breast cancer nine years ago and is on her way to beating it a second time.

I'll walk in awe of my Aunt Fran, 46, who recently had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and now has the most desirable chest in the family. For sure.

I'll walk for anyone you know who's been affected by breast cancer. Send me their name and I'll include it on the snazzy, one-of-a-kind t-shirt I plan on making for the walk (with the aid of someone who knows how to sew).

I'll walk for our moms, our sisters, our aunts, our friends, myself and you (estrogen carriers reading this) - women who we hope will live incredible, cancer-free lives.

For this, I am humbly asking for donations to help me reach $1,800 (I feel faint). You can
donate here, and you'll get a receipt for tax filing purposes.

One more favor (I know, the nerve)…please pass this e-mail on to your friends and family, especially those with deep (very deep) pockets. This isn't about me (or my quest for well-defined calves); it's about collectively working toward a resolution to a problem that is indiscriminate with whom it affects.

If you have a friend who owns a restaurant/store and would serve as a corporate sponsor or be willing to donate a percentage of the proceeds from one day/night's earnings to my
fundraising goal, please help make the connection. If these friends are chemically balanced men with clean records and perfect teeth, please also send my photo and mention that I'm single. I'm just kidding. (No I'm not). Yes I am. (Am I?)

Thank you (big time),

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Nuts

I ate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s nuts. Better yet, her nuts are now in a Ziploc bag in my kitchen cabinet. (One of three. Life in a studio…oh, brother.) I’m going to put them in a jar and make a really snazzy label that says (can you guess?), Justice Ginsburg’s Nuts.

The Justice spoke at the cultural venue where I work, discussing her thoughts on being in the new PBS series The Jewish Americans. Justice Ginsburg is a Jewish American who eats nuts that people with warped minds then steal from the green room to make into craft projects.

Before the nut lovin’ Justice arrived, I passed through the green room and swiped a few nuts because I heard that she requests a very specific variety of nuts at speaking engagements. Elitist nuts are tempting, and I wanted to be able to say that Justice Ginsburg and I ate nuts out of the same bowl.

I wish I could tell you the exact make and model of Justice Ginsburg’s nuts, but a co-sponsor of the event took care of the Justice’s snacks and I didn’t feel right about asking, “So what kind of nuts does Justice Ginsburg go bananas for?”

During the program, I couldn’t help but say (silently) to the Justice, “Hey Ruth, I ate some of your nuts!” Then I laughed to myself (semi-silently). When the event was over, I returned to the (empty) green room and put the remaining nuts in a bag to take home.

I’ve been meaning to get a jar for Justice Ginsburg’s nuts but haven’t had time. It’s going to need to be a small jar, because I’ve been eating about three of Justice Ginsburg’s nuts (mainly cashews) per day. Something about chewing on Justice Ginsburg’s nuts makes me feel like they're magical pellets that will enhance the quality of my life and maybe – just maybe – allow me to reach success as a fellow, petite Jewish American with a penchant for all things nutty. I wonder how the Justice feels about nut butters.

Justice Stephen Breyer is speaking at my place o’ employment later next month. If I could get Justice Breyer’s nuts in a jar, that would be doubly satisfying and allow me to make inappropriate references because he’s, ya know, a man. I never thought the day would come when someone else’s nuts would take on such significance in my life.

A half-eaten jar of almond butter rests in my fridge. I ate the top half of those buttery nuts in one sitting. Story of my life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Met Him at the Bank of America

As in The Shangri-Las classic song, Leader of the Pack.

Just a few months into my job, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a holiday bonus. In an act of maturity (see Dad, I can make wise choices), I decided to open a savings account.

I went to my local Bank of America, feeling positive about the imminent emptying of my pockets. Brian, the Bank of America manager, emerged from his open-air cubicle with a 3-piece, pin-striped suit and a firm handshake.

He was tall, with sandy brown hair and a youthful glow that capped his age at no older than 26. But how was he the Manager of Bank of America? Isn’t that something that requires years of ascending the bank’s ladder (what do I know)? By golly we have an over-achiever on our hands.

I asked Brian about the options when opening a savings account. He said it depended on how much I was planning on depositing.

“Oh, only like 500.” (Any suspicion of my being a trust-fund baby just went out the window.)

Brian was silent and stared at me. Either he thought I was a looker or a pauper.

I’m sorry I failed you, the Manager of Bank of America.

So I added, “…dollars,” in case there was any confusion. I think Brian then thought that I must have felt bad about my financial situation (I do) when I emphasized the word dollars, because he responded with, “No, no, that’s really, really good!”

Really, really?

We began the necessary paperwork and signature by signature I found myself checking Brian out, noticing his ringless indicative finger and nice complexion.

Vroom! Vroom! [Cha-ching! Cha-ching!]

Stop it, Jackie. Stop it.

Look out, look out, oh look out!

Money dealings must generate confidence because I gave Brian my business card. Granted it was so he could enter my work address and email into the system, but I didn’t take it back from him post data entry. You bet I didn’t.

That’s when I fell for the Manager of Bank of America.

As he was searching for something on his desk (the key to his heart?), Brian picked up a new pair of socks and told me that an elderly woman came by earlier to give the bank’s staff holiday presents. Brian loved the socks.

Brian, I think I love you.

He also mentioned that another customer gave him a bottle of wine which he gave away because he doesn’t drink.

Brian, take me now.

Vroom! Vroom! [Cha-ching! Cha-ching!]

We closed the deal (business only) – Story of my life – and parted ways amicably.

I felt so helpless, what could I do
Remembering all the things we’d been through
At school [the bank] they’d all stop and stare
I can’t have a chance [high interest rate] but I don’t care
I’ll never forget him the leader of the pack [bank]...

I got new checks in the mail for the savings account and have been debating whether I should send Brian an email to thank him for his customer service and ask how I can learn more about what the bank (manager) has to offer.